Drought divas can handle the dry spells of summer (Gooigle / Oregon Live)

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Drought tolerant plants for the Pacific Northwest, plus other hot-weather garden tips

What do daylilies, rudbeckia, penstemon, salvia and echinacea have in common? These drought divas belong to a group of water-thrifty plants that bring on a downpour of color with the least amount of water.

Without ample moisture, many plants are fated to shrivel up and die. But drought divas can handle the dry spells of summer with little to no supplemental water. And by combining drought-resistant plants with these seven water-wise steps, you can help your plants survive and thrive without spending an excess of time or money on irrigation.


Drought divas vary in their dependence on water. Some can get by with no irrigation, while others need a little, with monthly waterings during dry spells. Plants with moderate moisture needs perform best with a deep soaking every two to three weeks. This category is still water-thrifty, especially when compared with plants with regular moisture requirements that translate to a good soaking at least every week or more depending on how high the temperature soars.

A plant’s drought tolerance also depends on soil, climate and location. Plants suited to your growing conditions will always give a better show with less care. For example, hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) will do just fine without any supplemental water when grown in areas of the country that receive some summer rain. But in our climate these statuesque blooms will have a powerful thirst without summer irrigation.




Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.